Almirall urges sun-chasers to 'Stay Vigilant' in new actinic keratosis awareness campaign

A year after Almirall shared survey results showing that a vast majority of people are unaware of actinic keratosis, the most common precursor of skin cancer, and bumped up its educational efforts, the Spanish pharma’s work is still far from done.

In honor of this year’s edition of the annual AK Global Day on May 24, Almirall dug even deeper into the 2023 survey results and found that, on top of the 85% of adults over the age of 35 who aren’t aware of the existence of AK, more than one-third of those who do have AK don’t know what causes it.

As Almirall noted in its announcement of the new results, the condition is primarily caused by long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light, so reducing that exposure can therefore reduce the risk of developing AK.

“This year’s survey data show that there is still a significant lack of awareness of the long-term risks of excessive sun exposure without adequate protection. Addressing this lack of awareness is a key factor in preventing the development of actinic keratosis lesions as pre-forms of cancer,” said Volker Koscielny, M.D., Almirall’s chief medical officer.

Almirall Stay Vigilant actinic keratosis campaign

To help boost that awareness, Almirall has kicked off a new campaign. While its previous efforts have focused on educating people about the importance of regular skin checks to catch possible precancerous lesions as early as possible, the new “Stay Vigilant” initiative emphasizes the connection between sun exposure and AK—while still stressing the need for regular check-ups.

The campaign materials feature a row of older adults, all wearing sunglasses and some with hats on, too, looking out over a fence, neighborhood watch-style. Under the reminder to stay vigilant, there’s additional information about how an estimated 60% of cases of squamous cell carcinoma evolve from AK lesions, alongside reminders to “#CheckYourSkin” regularly.

Like Almirall’s past campaigns tied to AK Global Day, the “Stay Vigilant” initiative is unbranded, though raising awareness for the skin condition can certainly only help raise awareness and usage of the drugmaker’s Klisyri, which has been approved in the U.S. since 2020 as a topical treatment for AK, with its European nod arriving the following year.

Almirall had a hand in the creation of AK Global Day: It launched the annual awareness day—which takes place during May’s Skin Cancer Awareness Month—in 2022, in collaboration with Euromelanoma and AEDV Fundación Piel Sana.

In honor of last year’s installment, alongside other awareness-raising efforts, Almirall conducted the survey of more than 2,500 people over the age of 35 in Spain, Italy, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. In tandem with the results denoting a widespread dearth of AK education, the survey also found that nearly 58% of adults have never had their skin checked by a professional. The potential consequences of that statistic are further compounded by the survey’s homing in on respondents who “practice outdoor pursuits,” more than a third of whom said they don’t use sunscreen often, and 52% of whom reported getting sunburned at least once a year.